Cehat, the Spanish hoteliers association has told the UK's four leading tour operators that hoteliers will no longer accept contractual arrangements by which discounts are made to hotelier invoices to pay for false holiday sickness compensation claims.

The Majorca-based travel website Hosteltur reports that the president of Cehat, Joan Molas, has sent a letter to the chief executives of Tui, Thomas Cook, Jet2 and Monarch in which he says that hoteliers have had their fill of these false claims. He is demanding forceful action by tour operators if they wish to maintain current commercial relations.

The association notes that there has been talk of legislative measures since last autumn but that there is still no sign of any. The hoteliers are forced to pay because of "inadequate legislation" in the UK. Molas denounces the "organised criminal network" behind the claims and the way in which the discounts are "unilaterally" decided and are the reaction to "illegal blackmail".

Molas rejects any pressure on behalf of tour operators to alter pricing mechanisms in exchange for a lump sum for false claims. This, the association president maintains, would make them "accomplices of the criminal organisation".

The letter from the Spanish hoteliers was sent only days after the meeting in Madrid between various hotelier associations, Abta and the national tourism agency, Turespaña. The letter's content and tone suggest that the Madrid meeting did not achieve a great deal.

As was reported in the Bulletin earlier in the week, there is concern among Spain's hoteliers that legislative reform designed to stamp out the false claims will be delayed because of the UK general election. The fact is, though, that it has been understood for some time that any reform will not be effected immediately.

Meantime, a hotel in Crete has sued a British couple for 170,000 euros for having made a false claim almost three years after they had been on holiday at the hotel. It is interesting to note that the hotel has been able to use happy holiday photos posted by the couple on social media as part of its evidence to the UK court. Advice by claims farming companies to its clients includes ensuring that any such images are removed from social media as these could jeopardise claims.

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Henry James / Hace over 4 years

Would Molas care to name this ''organised criminal network''? Secondly,well done the hotel in Crete for suing the British couple that made the obvious false claim,they can't have been the sharpest tools in the box to make a claim almost three years after their holiday. Any compensation claims against hotels should have a maximum time limit of three months and anyone who makes a false claim should be prosecuted,we ALL pay for these false claims.

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